The usual article, a very useful site that like us is on the feed, linked to an article by a psychologist studying “misinformation”. Before clicking on the link, I knew exactly what it would say. The linked author will be outraged that some people express doubt about American Regime propaganda. (The only thing one can’t guess before reading the article is whether the trigger will be COVID, climate change, or white perfidy.) These people must be crazy! Next will come the experts. Psychology, it will be said, can explain how people–not psychologists or those who interview them; other people–form their beliefs irrationally, either by emotionally-motivated thinking, pre-rational conditioning/associations, or logical fallacies. Finally, the conclusion. If fascism is to be avoided, these people need to learn to think rationally, which means to be more docile to expert consensus.

epistemology – why I believe what I believe

psychology – why other people I don’t like believe what they believe

Sure enough, the first few paragraphs are outrage that some people believe Russian propaganda about fighting Nazis in the Ukraine. Imagine being a New York Times reader. Charlottesville protestors–Nazis. Capitol protestors–Nazis. Canadian truckers–Nazis. Putin–Nazi. Nazis in Ukraine? That’s crazy talk! Next the claim that people only believe this Russian propaganda because they hear it repeated so much. Our regime propaganda presumably does not benefit from such repetition.

Sure enough, next comes the psychologist to prove that people who disagree with him are irrational. I’m inclined to believe that people often are irrational, but the experiments that purport to demonstrate this are so obviously fallacious that perhaps I should reconsider this prejudice.

This is a term we use for the finding that when you hear something multiple times, you’re more likely to believe that it’s true. So, for example, in studies, say that you know that the short, pleated skirt that men wear in Scotland is called a “kilt,” but then you see something that says it’s a “sari.” You’re likely to think that’s definitely false. If you see it twice, most people still think it’s false, but they give it a slightly higher likelihood of being true. The illusory truth effect is simply that repetition of these statements leads to familiarity and also to this feeling of truth.

If a bunch of presumed independent sources call it a “sari”, then it is necessarily true that it is called a “sari”. It’s not like objects have mystical true names. Seeing a word used for something isn’t just rationally valid evidence that that word is a name for the thing; it is rationally adequate proof. The people in this experiment may have been misled by manipulated sources, but they have made no error of rationality.

People have already created this causal story in their mind of how something happened. So in a lot of the experiments, there’s a story about how a warehouse fire happens. And initially people are provided with some evidence that it was arson — there were gas cans found on the scene of the crime. And then in one case you just tell people, “Oh, oops, sorry, that was wrong. There were no gas cans found there.” Versus in another you give them an alternative story to replace it — that there weren’t any gas cans at all; instead, it turns out that there was a faulty electrical switch that caused the fire. If you only tell people the gas cans weren’t there, they still think it’s arson. They just are like, “Oh, yeah. The gas cans weren’t there, but it was still arson, of course.” Whereas in the second story, they’ll actually revise the story they had in mind and now remember it was actually accidental.

So, if you give people a piece of evidence (the existence of the faulty electrical switch) that the fire was accidental, they are more likely to conclude that it was likely accidental than if you withhold this key piece of evidence. (One notes that even absent the gas cans, arson is still a plausible explanation.) How is this supposed to be evidence that people are irrational?

Yeah, and with false information you can make it really engaging, really catchy, really easy to believe. And the truth is often complicated and nuanced and much more complex. So it can be really hard to come up with easy ways of describing complicated information in a way that makes it as easy to believe as the false information.

Go ahead, regime mouthpiece. Give me one issue that you will admit we are allowed to believe is complicated, nuanced, and complex.

5 thoughts on “The usual article

  1. I’m inclined to believe that people often are irrational, but the experiments that purport to demonstrate this are so obviously fallacious that perhaps I should reconsider this prejudice.

    You only believe the experiments in question to be obviously fallacious because you’ve heard it repeated so often they are obviously fallacious. Duh.

  2. If progressive psychologists actually understood how to make people believe crazy things, one would think they would themselves be more successful in making people believe crazy things. It is funny to read a propaganda expert complaining that his own propaganda doesn’t work all that well. If most people are irrational, it would be rational to program them by irrational means. It would be irrational to complain that most people are not rational.

    • A variant of that was always my retort to the evo-psych and HBD nerds, PUA/game people, and rationalists in the alt-right scene.
      > “You claim to be rational, but complain about women & normies being irrational, while also believing in scientific evo-psych theories of herd conformism. If everyone in society was just as open minded and inquisitive as ourselves, and thus susceptible to our arguements, society would totally fall apart. It has to be this way and couldn’t have been any other. So what are you complaining about? Its far more irrational for you to complain about normies or women being irrational than it is for a them to be irrational”
      As you can imagine, a lot of people didn’t like me. Glad I got out of that scene.


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